THE POWER OF SCIENCE

The FDA is on the verge of approving genetically engineered animals for human consumption. It has not yet done so, but let us not feign suspense about the decision they will reach. Unlike most westerners, Americans are already eating enormous quantities of GMO corn, soybeans, and other staple crops. Despite the highly controversial nature of this issue, I have to admit that I have never taken the time to form an opinion about it. I understand all of the issues involved – health-related, legal, ethical, and environmental – but I cannot muster the outrage expected of someone of my ideological persuasion.

Our fields, grocery stores, and stomachs are already so packed with lab-engineered Miracle Foods that I have a hard time seeing how GMOs are much of a step down. I mean, are those Doritos, Cocoa Puffs, and Miller Lites going to be better for you if we kick out the GMO corn? Are Monsanto, ConAgra, and Tyson going to have any less of a grip on the American food system if GMOs are ruled unfit for human consumption? Which is worse for me, the GMO milk or the non-GMO milk laced with Bovine Growth Hormone and "Doctor, I think I have anthrax" sized doses of antibiotics? If we trust the FDA to declare regular farm-raised "Atlantic Salmon" – which I can only assume is fed an engineered diet of slaughterhouse waste and chemical additives – safe for consumption, why should we grow skeptical about their judgment now?

My point is not that GMOs are great or even safe. It is that GMOs have become a buzzword and a distraction from the larger deficiencies in our food chain as a whole. The dangers of GMOs mirror the dangers of any heavily processed food, patented seed, or chemical-addled livestock. There is no point in "winning" a battle over GMOs if we're going to continue to eat Cheetos and patronize Taco Bell. Hell, if GMOs cause cancer and shorten our lives they'll fit right in with our current choices at the supermarket.

Politically, this is an instance in which people on the left are undermined by the extremity of their own rhetoric. Talk of "Frankenfoods," modified corn that will have us dropping dead, and vicious, feral strawberries waiting to kill us in our sleep accomplish little, especially since pro-GMO advocates have such pleasant-sounding (although ultimately dishonest) arguments on their side. They can claim that increased yields and pest/virus resistance will alleviate hunger and reduce the need for chemical pesticides. This, of course, is nonsense. The root causes of hunger are social and political, and they do not stem from a lack of available food globally. There is enough food for everyone and the relevant issue to confront is what prevents it from ending up on the plates of people who go hungry.

I'd like to get worked up about GMOs but I have yet to hear the argument that will push me past indifference. With or without them, we confront the same problems. Agribusiness does whatever it wants. Science keeps coming up with new ways to "improve" food with chemical additives and more exotic processing. Most of our food supply is altered in some way that serves to make us fatter and provide us with little to no nutritional value. I may be wrong, but I think every minute spent wailing and rending our tunics over Genetically Modified, factory farmed salmon is a distraction from the more important question of why we're eating chemically enhanced factory farmed salmon in the first place. Let's stop eating shit rather than bickering over what specific kinds of shit should be allowed on the grocery store shelves.

45 thoughts on “THE POWER OF SCIENCE”

  • Didja read Monbiot's article? Veganism isn't necessary, if we just quit being such shits to the animals we're raising for food.

    I've written against the arguments against "Frankenfoods". Let me know, and I'll forward you the articles.

  • The trouble is, there's a strong disincentive to eat healthier: cost. When a small box of blueberries, or walnuts, or almonds, costs less than a pound of beef, something is wrong. When cooking a healthy meal is more costly (in both time and money) than a $2 meal from Burger King, most people are going to go with the crap, all those hard-to-see claims about future health aside.

    We need systemic change, largely in the corn industry. Change the incentives, end the flood of cheap corn, and meat prices (among others) will rise. When they do, fast food will be more expensive, and hopefully people will eat around the house more and thus start to care a bit more what goes in their food.

    None of that is a panacea, of course, but I think it would help.

  • The well to do among us don't eat this crap. If you make a decent living, you're much more likely to choose free-range, cruelty free, non-engineered foods of all kinds. It generally tastes better and is most likely much better for you. The problem is that it is very expensive to eat healthy food.

    As we watch the middle class shrink, more and more of us will be forced to buy the cheapest calories we can find and there is a mega industry in place to make this swill taste good.

  • I'm of two minds about this one.

    On one hand, I've actually worked in argicultural biology labs where gene research was actually being conducted, and the problems we worked on were scientific and, at base, humanitarian (eliminating flax rust in soybeans). Of course, that was a major public research university (the same one Ed got his PhD from) so I can't make pronouncements about the private sector.

    On the other hand, my experience has made me a little nervous about the process. Genetic research has evolved little beyond the "let's fuck some genes up and see what happens" that has been dictating crop research for the past 70 years. Unintended consequences WILL happen, because there's simply no way to control for them. GM crops that kill pests could also cause cancer, and we'd have no way of knowing until it starts showing up in the general population.

    Overall, it's a valuable SCIENTIFIC process, but we need to be very, very careful about how these things are actually consumed in the marketplace.

  • "Talk of "Frankenfoods," modified corn that will have us dropping dead, and vicious, feral strawberries waiting to kill us in our sleep accomplish little" – really? Hyperbole seems like the only effective American motivator. Hello! Fox News!? Nothing lights a fire under an American's ass faster than sheer nonsense and a moronic buzzword.

  • By the way, if we really wanted to "fight obesity", we'd take ag subsidies and use them to make fresh fruit and vegetables cheap and accessible, and tax the shit out of processed food. But I can already hear the Tea Party howling from their Hoverounds.

  • I suppose I'm a technological idealist, but even though our current GMO technology is primitive, there is a ton of potential for awesomeness. I still imagine a future where houses made of trees grow from seeds.

    I know, I know this isn't the GMO we have, but the critiques I haven't seen one critique of GMO foods that is decisive. There are a couple critiques that are mitigating(cross pollination, monoculture), but nothing that would make the technology worth not using. These are simply things we need to be aware of in the event that we scale GMO up dramatically.

  • I'm with HoosierPoli. I've done a (very) little genetic modification of plants for classes, and worked for a couple years in a lab that uses genetics to design non-gm breeding programs. And really, the whole 'Are GM foods a good idea?' question is pretty meaningless, because it depends so very much on what modifications are being done, how, and in what environment. When we're making plants less susceptible to disease and drought, or less dependent on fertilizers, my general feeling is 'test the hell out of it, and then go ahead.' When it's making plants produce bacterial insecticides in all their tissues, or able to withstand being sprayed with heroic doses of herbicide, I think we're probably better off without that technology. The same goes for animals–I don't feel the need for a blanket ban, but GM'ing salmon to be able to digest corn (it's always fucking corn, isn't it? Or soybeans) sounds like a less than stellar idea.

    This is one of the better opinion pieces I've ever seen on GM foods. Which is pretty sad, really, since you're beating out a lot of people who put way more effort into the issue.

  • Entomologista says:

    You obviously don't understand any of the issues involved. I've worked with GMOs and my specialty is field crop entomology. Bt crops have already resulted in a significant reduction in pesticide use. Glyphosate-resistant crops have saved millions of pounds of topsoil. I know that many people like to pretend that agriculture is very simple and that right now it is popular to hate on modern agriculture. But agriculture is not simple. Several different scientific disciplines work together to solve agricultural problems, which is why it's laughable whenever some pundit or journalist claims to have the answers. There is no magic solution to any one problem. But Bt crops are great for what they do, which is provide farmers in the Midwest with a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly means of pest control.

    And let's put to rest the idea that the Cry proteins expressed in crops are harmful to humans. They aren't. Do you have the physiology of corn rootworm? No, you do not. So the protein is not going to bind to your gut and prevent nutrient absorption. The fact that people lose their shit over the idea of inserting a gene from one organism into another just speaks to the depth of their scientific ignorance.

    Food security is not simple and will not be achieved by simply shipping all our extra corn to Africa. In order for food security to be achieved in developing nations, they need to produce their own food. In America, yes – food security is a political issue. But in developing nations there are many problems. Lack of agricultural research or improper research. Lack of infrastructure for farmers. Gender inequality. And on and on. You can't just flood markets with a bunch of free food, because that also creates problems. Programs that address food security do things like involve local women in plant breeding efforts so they can choose the varieties with agronomic qualities that best suit their needs in addition to having adequate pest resistance.

  • I don't eat crap ~ no Maccas, KFC or any other fast food, sugared cereals, Coke, or any of its equivalents. I'm leery of mass produced food of any sort. And seeing the leading purveyor of GM products is Monsanto….

    'Monsanto …. products have included the herbicides 2,4,5-T, DDT, and Agent Orange used primarily during the Vietnam War as a defoliant agent (later proven to be highly carcinogenic to any who come into contact with the solution), the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet), bovine somatotropin (bovine growth hormone (BST)), and PCBs' ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

    … there's no way I'll eat anything they're is involved in either.

    Read the whole Wiki article and then see if you can 'muster some outrage",

  • Does anyone remember the fuss about irradiated food? No spoilage, no e. coli, no food poisoning, keep milk on the shelf, stop crying as you watch food donations rotting on the docks instead of being transported to Ethiopians? Other countries have been doing it for ages, and no three-headed babies have made the news because of it. Not good enough? "But he said 'radiation'!" Oh, okay; go back to lethal diarrhea, starvation, and wasted food. Now tell me how coal mining is better than nuclear power.

    Like everyone else, I know GM food can be tested up, down, and sideways, but we can't know the long term effects until we've used it for a while, seen the bad effects, and worked out the kinks. Traditionally, we have genetically modified plants and animals by breeding and weeding; hastening the process creates natural food with the highly-processed problem built right in. Like saccharin: sure, it caused cancer in laboratory animals, but who drinks their weight in diet soda each day?

    OH WAIT: WE DO. GM foods that might be problem free when consumed in minimal doses are bound to cause monsterism here, where food is entertainment, psychotherapy, and self-medication in one; but hopefully some smart people in some other country will figure out how to make it work safely.

  • Entomologista says:

    When it's making plants produce bacterial insecticides in all their tissues, or able to withstand being sprayed with heroic doses of herbicide, I think we're probably better off without that technology.

    The proteins are mainly expressed in the tissues targeted by insects. We can do that, you know. Choose which tissues will express which gene when.

    Genetic research has evolved little beyond the "let's fuck some genes up and see what happens" that has been dictating crop research for the past 70 years.

    For serious?

  • Ed, you've nailed it here–GMOs have become a tremendous distraction, and prevent us from thinking deeply about our system of food production. We've been trying solve problems IN agriculture for a long time, when what we really need is to address the problem OF agriculture.

    GM technologies could be used to develop germplasm that requires less water, less fertilizer, fuel and pesticides. Some of that work has been pursued, of course (Bt corn, etc), but thus far, the net result of Monsanto's efforts have been to increase the farmer's dependence on inputs, rather than decrease, and transfer wealth from the family farm to big ag. If the techno-enthusiasts really want to feed the world and make modern ag sustainable, they would address the many socio-political impediments that prevent farmers in developing countries from growing (and selling) enough of their own food. They would use our available technologies to develop perennial varieties of our major food crops, rather than grow them as annuals, so that farmers could dramatically reduce their seasonal inputs. They would be funding and developing breeding programs that increase genetic diversity and save landraces, as that is how we can best hedge against future environmental change. But big ag is in the business of selling seed packaged with all their designer technologies. And too many of us have become distracted with the various techno sideshows.

  • In a society populated largely by people who insist upon treating their body like a trash can, it's laughable to imagine an outcry about potential side effects from touching 'engineered' food. Bonus points if they shake one fist at such ideas while holding an aspertame-laced diet coke in the the other.

  • party with tina says:

    The battle with the FDA over this one is that they're not requiring food producers to clearly label genetically modified foods.

  • party with tina says:

    And, tho' your assumption that Americans generally eat unhealthy anyway. I don't think it's at all appropriate for the FDA to simply NOT protect them on that basis. Unless you're some sort of depopulation activist, this should be an outrage..

    There is NO evidence that genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption.

  • Well-to-do is more of an issue of potentially eating right for urbanites (I guess that's about 3/4 of us now.)

    Rural people, regardless of income, have always and still have more of an opportunity to eat right if they live on arable land. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables in season while canning the surplus has been a way of life forevermore for many people who are classified as poor or lower middle class.

    For instance, a significant contingent of the '60s and '70s back to the land movement (you know, the Mother Earth News crowd) were middle class, suburban-raised kids who wanted a subsistence lifestyle for various political or philosophical reasons. The ranks got thinned considerable when a lot of them found out how much hard work was involved.

    But it is possible to use open pollinated, old school seeds eat free range birds (and use their eggs) and raise and process natural fed hogs and beef cattle. I have 60 blueberry bushes that have never seen anything but natural mulches, rain, and well water. They produce just fine, thank you.

    The path of least resistance has sabotaged lots of folks because if you don't have much money, then BK, KFC and Mickey-D (if they are available) can make sweating over your patch seem kind of silly if you are ignorant of the consequences.

    //bb

  • I don't think GMO animals are as serious an issue as GMO plants because the plants spread their genetic material to neighboring plants. Once the GMO plants are introduced into the world there is no going back. Farmers have been forced to pay GMO creators for their seeds when their own crops are genetically contaminated. In theory, we can keep track of the GMO animals and reverse this policy in the future.

    The government has refused to require farmers to label their GMO produce. I feel like a guinea pig and resent not having the choice to avoid GMO products. I don't trust the tests claiming these products are safe just as I don't trust the corporate funded FDA to ban dangerous products in general. We live in an oligarchy, which does not work for the citizens interests. What are the benefits of GMO products that justify the risks involved?

  • @ bb in GA:
    Your point is well made. My wife and I have raised two children and produced the majority of our food for 30 years. We aren't Mother Earth people, just lower middle class country folks who made what we considered sound financial/nutritional decisions. We can afford KFC or Pizza Hut but forebear the experience because of the cost and uncertainty involved. Today and tomorrow we will process Silver Queen corn and bottle homemade wine. And sweat a little.

  • What Keith said, and thanks for the link to the Land Institute.

    Also, "AquAdvantage"? I hope there's a marketing department getting cancer right now.

  • Larry,

    Love that Silver Queen and wine… grew a few rows of it this year.

    I meant no disrespect to M.E. News readers (have read it myself) but was just using that as a marker. Sorry if it sounded snotty.

    //bb

  • Gardening != farming. Let's get over the idea that because you can grow things in your back yard with little or no input means that the guy in Nebraska with a thousand acres can just follow your example.

  • There is NO evidence that genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption.

    Again, do you have the digestive tract of an insect? Seriously, this is not any different than idiots panicking because they think Junior is going to get autism from vaccines.

  • Eating = = Eating

    I am not doing any induction here. Kilo-acred Nebraskans need to do what they think is right.

    BTW the sweet corn I love is a hybrid (SQ) I buy my seeds from a source that is diligent about not selling GM seeds. I don't know how far GM has invaded the sweet corn biz. I do know that hybrid does not necessarily mean GM.

    //bb

    //bb

  • As an aside: the argument that cost is a deterrent to eating well is ridiculous. If you shop at Whole Foods and eat free-range, antibiotic-free meat more than 2x/week you're obviously going to spend a fortune on food. But the choice is not between that lifestyle and one of fast food dollar menus. If you shop the sales, seek out alternative produce options (farmers markets, grow your own, international grocers) and go easy on the meat you can eat very well for very little. My husband and I spend approx. $35/week on groceries and we enjoy an abundance of fruits and veg (much of it locally grown), lentils, some meat and homemade bread/sweets. The healthiest diet is also – most often – the least expensive diet, both in the US and around the world.

  • Elder Futhark says:

    This is a non-issue. We've been genetically modifying plants and animals for 10,000 years. We just do it under more rigorous and controlled conditions now. And Mother Nature has been swapping genes for 4 billion years.

  • The point of providing a certain amount of ones own nutritional sustenance has little to do with mega-farming. Cost and input control are the over-riding factors to me. I garden, but also produce for a local market. Mega-farming /= farming, but as bb says "eating=eating". There are over 60 hybrid sweet corn varieties that are not genetically manipulated. Hybrids are plants that naturally cross pollinate which are selected for their specific positive qualities. Tomatoes, peppers, marijuana, trees and flowers do this without human interference. Sounds natural to me.

  • One thing about GMO with the current technology is that we can insert a particular gene into a genome and guarantee its expression(with enough trial and error), but we can't really determine where the gene is inserted with any accuracy. We basically blast the genome with a plasmid shotgun. The side effect of the inaccuracy of this technology, is that we almost always end up with a product that is less robust than the wild type. (Because we accidentally insert the gene into a segment of DNA that has something important, but not SO important that the plant didn't survive, and from the inherent trade-offs in expressing(and often over expressing) a new gene)

    You can spin this either way.

  • I still think that on the issue of why American eat so poorly people are overlooking the role of government incentives (largely written and paid for by agrobusiness and their supporters) toward growing massive monoculture crops, particularly of corn and of soy.

    The surplus of these foods, and their cheapness, has caused them to infiltrate much of our food and drink and has lowered the cost of unhealthy food substantially. Change the policy, and the whole system changes.

  • @ Megan, you write "the argument that cost is a deterrent to eating well is ridiculous" and then go on to undermine your argument when you list how you can eat well for cheap by seeking out sales and looking for alternative places to buy food.

    The time you spend doing this represents a potentially significant expenditure of resources and essentially turns eating well into a hobby. A significant portion of this country cannot follow your lead- and it is not due to laziness.

  • @ oxus, if 5 minutes on Google maps and a quick perusal of the ads that arrive in my mailbox constitutes a "significant expenditure of resources" then I stand corrected. It doesn't take much work – just some creativity.

  • @Larry

    I sense sarcasm in your comment, but one can never be sure online. I'm not arguing for sustenance farming because I think we're beyond that. Nonetheless, if we allow the prices of corn and certain other crops to appreciate somewhat, I think we'd see a marked improvement in the quality of our food, as farmers would switch to other crops and the flood of cheap livestock feed would make meat more expensive, as it should be.

    This process would need to be done slowly, and carefully, so as not to upset the delicate world food supply. I'm not saying it's easy, but it could be done with some political will and intelligent policy-making.

  • Entomologista says:

    If you think that hybrid corn is not genetically manipulated by man, that's because you don't know what hybrid corn is. Just because an organism isn't getting shot with the gene gun in the lab doesn't mean that organism is not being genetically manipulated. The field of population genetics does not exist solely to torture graduate students. We were breeding crops long before the advent of molecular biology.

    I don't know why people suddenly turn into Luddites when it comes to agriculture, but it's annoying. I'm as much for increasing urban agriculture as anybody (especially with regard to beekeeping) but advocating an increase in subsistence agriculture is silly. If people choose to do it I'm certainly not going to stand in their way. But it's a very difficult way of life and is probably not a good choice for most people.

  • "I don't know why people suddenly turn into Luddites when it comes to agriculture, but it's annoying. I'm as much for increasing urban agriculture as anybody (especially with regard to beekeeping) but advocating an increase in subsistence agriculture is silly. If people choose to do it I'm certainly not going to stand in their way. But it's a very difficult way of life and is probably not a good choice for most people."

    The only argument that really makes sense to me is that, while we've been genetically manipulating crops and cross-breeding plants for thousands of years, we haven't been breeding across Kingdoms and Phyla. The classic example of fish-derived antifreeze proteins in tomato crops, for example, could never happen without modern genetic engineering, and for people with seafood allergies, the insertion of a triggering protein is a cause for concern.

  • And yet there will always be a small percentage of the population with sensitivies and resistances. I can't have a flu shot because I'm allergic to raw egg, but I'm not going to insist no one have flu shots (or chocolate mousse, or hollandaise, or soft brownies, or tartar sauce, or Caesar salad, or any of the other delicious things that make my throat close and send me into shock.) Some food allergies are much, much harder to handle, I know, but again: what works for the greatest number and greater good?

  • party with tina says:

    This is CopyPasta:

    Here are some facts from The Hundred Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald. It was an excellent, eye-opening book. Some might call it scary.

    In the past 100 years, cancer mortality has gone from 3%of all deaths to 20%. Diabetes went from .1% to almost 20%. Heart disease went from being almost nonexistent to killing almost 700,000 perople a year.

    Health care costs have risen until the US now spends twice as much on medicine and health care per person, per year than any other industrialized nation in the world.

    Brain disease(Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neuron disorders) tripled in Western countries from 1974–1997. Food seems to be the major culprit for toxicity, bc Japan, alone among the 10 nations studied, had no increase in brain disease mortality, apparently bc their diet is healthier. When Japanese citizens relocated to Western countries, their disease rates exceed those of Japan as a whole.

    A California environmental official said a water test has showed 60% of rivers and streams in the state contained high levels of Prozac, Ritalin, and antibiotics.

    In large feed lots, cattle are fed 5 or more sex hormones to accelerate weight gain. These have been known to cause reproductive dysfunction and cancer in humans.

    Many commercial dairy and meat products come from animals that consume feed made up of the remains of tens of millions of cats and dogs that have been euthanized.

    At least 70% of processed foods in your local grocery contain at least 1 genetically engineered ingredient that has never been tested.

    More than 3,000 synthetic chemicals are regularly added to US food products and hardly have ever been tested for their synergistic toxic producing effects in humans.

    With the 9 or so vaccines given to children, are additives and preservatives, including mercury, aluminum, MSG, formaldehyde, and others linked to brain and nerve disorders and autism.

  • "In the past 100 years, cancer mortality has gone from 3%of all deaths to 20%. Diabetes went from .1% to almost 20%. Heart disease went from being almost nonexistent to killing almost 700,000 perople a year."

    This one seems easily explainable due to the increased lifespan. 100 years ago, I'm assuming, not enough people lived long enough to see the full effects of cancer or heart disease.

    I could be wrong, but that seems like the most intuitive answer to that one…

    Also,

    "With the 9 or so vaccines given to children, are additives and preservatives, including mercury, aluminum, MSG, formaldehyde, and others linked to brain and nerve disorders and autism."

    NO.

  • A California environmental official said a water test has showed 60% of rivers and streams in the state contained high levels of Prozac, Ritalin, and antibiotics.

    Was this unnamed official from an unspecified agency also concerned about vanilla latte run-off, and Plan B wrappers?

  • "And yet there will always be a small percentage of the population with sensitivies and resistances. I can't have a flu shot because I'm allergic to raw egg, but I'm not going to insist no one have flu shots (or chocolate mousse, or hollandaise, or soft brownies, or tartar sauce, or Caesar salad, or any of the other delicious things that make my throat close and send me into shock.) Some food allergies are much, much harder to handle, I know, but again: what works for the greatest number and greater good?"

    Well, it's not quite the same thing. A flu shot is one thing; but cross-Kingdom genes in your food would be as though any vaccine could potentially have been made with egg products, and it would be tough to tell. Once you get said tomato out, growing in fields, cross-pollination takes care of the rest, and if GMOs become commonplace, food warning labels could very easily become a byzantine array of warnings (this tomato paste has fish genes, but not peanut genes; this one has peanut genes but not fish genes; this one was made from tomatoes grown near GMO tomatoes; so on and so forth). That's even if you could determine which crop your tomato products came from; I'm pretty sure the food processing industry isn't set up to do that kind of tracking and I don't even really know how they could.

    At least with things like peanut allergies today, you can simply ensure that peanuts do not enter the factory. When you're trying to screen against genes within your ingredients, though, it's much tougher.

  • We were promised Golden Rice if GM food was allowed. We were told that if we didn't allow this we were hurting the poor of the world. 15 years later we have Monsanto herbicide resistant crops, patents over the food sources of the world and no Golden rice.

    Forgive me if I don't trust the promises or the assurances.

  • party with tina says:

    "With the 9 or so vaccines given to children, are additives and preservatives, including mercury, aluminum, MSG, formaldehyde, and others linked to brain and nerve disorders and autism."

    NO.

    Indeed the statement is correct, there are toxic additives in some vaccines, it's sort of a trace amount, and if some complication occurs the doctor will recommend a slower schedule. The debate about autism was really killed when it was relabeled as a behavioral disorder, and not a disease.

    The book 100 year lie does point out that people often died from now easily treatable infectious diseases, dental hygiene being the most important advent. However, did you know that 1 of 3 americans will get cancer in their lifetimes–1 in 2 american males? Diabetes is a very new development due to a MASSIVE increase in the consumption of sugar, especially simple sugars like glucose which are not found in high concentrations in nature. Sucrose, which is much more common, is healthier for you simply because it's a natural bond of the two sugars fructose and glucose and your body has an enzyme sucrase which regulates its digestion. There are sooo many toxic chemicals that you come in contact with every day as an American and European.

    I recently read a study on flame retardants and other chemicals commonly used in western nations mimic estrogen in the human body. They found that areas with the highest concentration of them had birthrates of 2 females to 1, (normally it's ~51-49, women). Furthermore that boys born in these areas were more likely to play with dolls, and show other effeminate behavior. I'll try and find it.

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